The Binghamton University baseball team celebrates after defeating Maine, 4-0, for the America East championship. The Bearcats now head to Raleigh, N.C., for the NCCA Regional with North Carolina State, Ole Miss and William and Mary.
Baseball team wins America East championship; draws North Carolina State in NCAAsTweet
Binghamton baseball learned its draw in the NCAA Regional on May 27 and the America East champion Bearcats will be headed to Raleigh, N.C., to face ninth-ranked North Carolina State (44-14) in the opening game on May 31. The other two teams at the double-elimination regional are 21st-ranked Ole Miss (37-22) and Colonial Athletic Association member William & Mary (37-22).
“We knew whoever we would face would be a good challenge,” 21st-year head coach Tim Sinicki said. “N.C. State has had a good program for years and they play in one of the premier conferences in the country. They are a host school out of the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) ... that’s really all you need to know. But we had a great week of baseball and feel good about who we are. This team never gives up and feels it can hang with anyone. The way we battled through the conditions and won the conference tournament ... that can have momentum as we move forward. We’re excited and ready for the challenge.”
The Bearcats (30-23) captured the program’s second conference title in the last five years with a 4-0 victory over top-seeded Maine in Sunday’s deciding game of the America East championship. Binghamton went 3-1 at the tournament, which began in Lowell, Mass. and ended in Kingston, R.I.
Senior ace and tournament MVP Jake Lambert fired eight shutout innings in the deciding game of the America East Championship at Bill Beck Field on the campus of University of Rhode Island. Lambert, working on three days rest after his two-hit shutout in the tournament opener on May 22, was brilliant, logging 120 pitches and scattering five hits before turning it over to Binghamton’s bullpen, which sidestepped a dicey ninth to preserve the win. Lambert (7-2) struck out seven and walked one and was an easy choice for MVP honors after pitching 17 scoreless innings in two starts.
The Black Bears brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth before sophomore reliever Mike Urbanski got a huge swinging strikeout and a line-out to center to close it. It was Urbanski’s second save of the season.
Binghamton scored one run in the first, third, sixth and ninth innings and outhit Maine, 11-6.
The Bearcats jumped out of the gate with a run in the top of the first frame. Leadoff hitter Zach Blanden worked a 3-2 walk and went to second on a one-out groundout. With two outs, junior second baseman Daniel Nevares pulled a single through the left side and after Maine’s shortstop grabbed it, Blanden caught him by surprise as he rounded third and charged toward home and the throw to the plate was up the first base line.
In the third inning, Binghamton struck again with a run on two hits and a walk. Freshman third baseman David Schanz drilled a one-out stand-up double into the left field corner and sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas was walked, putting runners on first and second. Nevares flied out to center but with two out, McGraw laced the first pitch he saw through the left side scoring a sliding Schanz with Binghamton’s second run.
In the sixth, Binghamton took advantage of back-to-back hit batters to open the frame. In an an apparent sacrifice situation and with Maine infielders charging, Pancerella slashed an RBI single through the right side scoring Ruby to make it 3-0. The Bearcats had runners on second and third with one out but couldn’t do further damage.
Lambert retired the side on strikeouts in the first, working around an infield single. He then retired the side in order in the second, third and fourth innings and sent down 10 straight before Maine led off the bottom of the fifth with a soft single through the right side. A great stab by Schanz at third started a 5-4-3 double play to get the Bearcats out of the fifth and then Lambert stranded a runner at second in the bottom of the frame with his seventh strikeout of the game.
Schanz did it again in the seventh, smothering a short-hop and starting another 5-4-3 twin killing. Earlier in the inning, Nevares charged a slow roller and made a great glove-flip to get the leadoff hitter.
Binghamton added a final run in the ninth inning for more breathing room. With two outs, Thomas doubled over the bag at third and Nevares delivered an RBI single just over the glove of the Maine second baseman.
Schanz and Nevares joined Lambert and McGraw on the all-championship team. McGraw (2-for-5, RBI) had a team-high eight hits in the tournament and Schanz (7 hits) and Nevares (2 RBI) played outstanding defense.